Beer News

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The Craft Beer Guy Recap of 2019

As the year comes to an end it is time for me to sit down with a beer and try to figure out what I did that made this year go by so quickly. To be honest, I feel like I have really slowed down on my coverage of the local craft beer scene, but the growth has been so rapid that I cannot keep up. Heck, there were two new breweries getting ready to open in El Segundo that I did not know about until three months before they opened! Oh well, I will continue to do what I can; if I don’t visit a particular brewery as much as I used to it is probably because there are so many breweries around here now. In fact, while my personal craft beer life may have slowed, the growth over the past year is kind of mind blowing. Let’s see what happened in 2019.

tortugo brewing

Tortugo Brewing, Inglewood

January 2019

In my review of 2018 I had mentioned there were two new local breweries that I still had not visited, one of those was Tortugo Brewing. I started off 2019 by remedying that. If you have not been, it is a nice location and they have some good brews; you should check them out. Continue reading

Pawsitive Pints – A Great Christmas Gift for Craft Beer Fans

Get $1 Pints at participating taprooms

As the Christmas season swoops in on us like a cheetah on a baby gazelle, those last minute gifts and stocking stuffers can be difficult to come up with, and getting to the mall can be a real pain; so as I find them, I will try to bring them to your attention in time for you to scratch another gift off your list. Today, I want to introduce you to the Pawsitive Pints card.

Pawsitive Pints is a fundraiser for Zelda’s Foundation for Animals, formerly known as Dirty Dog Squad, a small, all-volunteer organization that saves homeless and abandoned pets on death row at high-kill shelters. They depend completely on private donations to continue their mission.

Holders of a Pawsitive Pints card will get one pint for $1.00 from up to 50 craft breweries, brewpubs, and gastropubs between Santa Barbara and San Pedro. The list of participating breweries includes: Continue reading

5th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover Coming September 5

collaboration brew

Better Weather Sweater Collaboration Brew Team

Clear your calendars; one week from today, Thursday September 5, I will be presenting my 5th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover at Tortilla Cantina in Old Torrance.

If you have attended any of the previous four tap takeovers, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect; if you have never been I can summarize with at least 25 South Bay breweries/cideries pouring from 50 taps.

When I started this in 2015, we had 10 South Bay breweries with 40 taps; in 2016 there were 15, and in 2017 we had 18 South Bay breweries with 40 taps. In 2018 there was a change of management at the original venue (Flights), and they decided they wanted to do their own thing. I wished them luck, and then approached Rick Gomez of Tortilla Cantina to see if they would be interested in hosting the 4th annual tap takeover. I approached Rick for three reasons; I knew he was a big supporter of the local craft beer scene, every South Bay brewery owner I spoke with knew and really liked Rick, and I knew he had 48 taps. I do not think Rick really knew what he was in for, but he went all-in and the 4th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover ended up featuring 22 local breweries participating, and with the help of a jockey box, 49 taps of craft beer! Continue reading

San Diego Beer Week VIP Preview Party Photos

These photos were taken Thursday evening at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens at Liberty Station, where the San Diego Brewers Guild presented a VIP preview of the 11th Annual San Diego Beer Week which will be held November 1-10.

The event began with a free Happy Hour consisting of appetizers from the Stone Brewing World Bistro kitchen, and beers from Stone Brewing, Amplified Ale Works, Burgeon Beer Company, North Park Beer Company, Second Chance Beer Company, and Thorn Brewing. There was also wine and sodas for those that didn’t want beer.

After an hour and a half of networking, eating and drinking on one of Liberty Station’s multiple patios, we were guided inside for a short presentation explaining why we were all there … other than the opportunity to network, eat, and drink some of San Diego’s craft beers. Continue reading

Zymurgy Brew Works to Become Smog City West

notice of intent

Smog City Brewing to assume Zymurgy Brew Works

It was early 2016 when I was approached by Bill Baker and Jeff Jennewein; they wanted to open a Brew-on-Premises/Do-it-Yourself craft brewery in Torrance, with a focus on educating the public about craft beer with guest brewer sessions, beer tastings and brewing classes. They asked if I would be willing to speak before the Torrance Planning Commission in support of their Conditional Use Permit. As Baker is a Torrance school principal and Jennewein is a science and math teacher, I readily agreed because what better pairing for education about craft beer can you ask for than a science teacher and a school principal?

By the time Zymurgy had their grand opening, Jenniwein and Baker had decided that their friendship was more important than their business relationship; Baker and Jenniwein had an amicable separation, leaving Baker to run Zymurgy on his own. Continue reading

L.A. Beer Week 11 Continues with Pizza and Beer

These photos were taken Wednesday evening at The Slice and Pint in El Segundo, where they held a pizza and craft beer pairing, Pizza & Beer – Things We Knead. The LA Beer Week 11 event featured pizza and beer pairings suggested by seven Certified and Advanced Cicerones and the head chef of The Slice and Pint.

The Cicerones participating included Tom Kelley of El Segundo Brewing Company and The Slice and Pint, Cindy and Hal Mooney of LA Beer Hop, Jace Milstead of Craft LA, Jonathan Porter of Smog City, Greg Bechtel of Simmzy’s Restaurants, and Blanca Quintero of Firestone Walker. The Slice and Pint’s Head Chef, Matt Ranney, also included his favorite pizza and beer pairing. While most of the pizzas were paired with beer from El Segundo Brewing Company, The Slice and Pint has several guest taps, three of which (Smog City, Oxbow Brewing Company, and Cellador Ales) were also included in the pairings. Continue reading

Jonas Bids Farewell to Strand Brewing Company

These photos were taken Friday evening at the Strand Brewing Company tasting room in Torrance, where friends, fans, family, and former co-workers gathered to say good-bye and congratulations to long time taproom manager, Jonas Neubauer, who is leaving Strand Brewing after more than seven years to pursue his career as a professional gamer.

In case you were not aware, Jonas happens to be a seven time Classic Tetris World Champion, a title that has only been around since 2010. In other words, he has been the champion seven out of nine times. He came in second place in 2014 and again last year in 2018. Since then, Jonas has not been seen at the taproom very much as his most recent second place finish has made him more popular than ever in the gaming world. As such, Jonas has been able to monetize his Twitch and YouTube channels to the point that it made sense to devote more time to gaming; besides, he has to concentrate on winning back the title of Classic Tetris World Champion.

Good luck Jonas, we will be rooting for you. Cheers! Continue reading

Photos from Bar Talk with Brooklyn Brewery

These photos were taken Wednesday evening at Beelman’s in downtown Los Angeles, where they hosted Brooklyn Brewery’s “Bar Talk: Craft Beer, Innovation & The Great Cape Debate with Steve Hindy & Garrett Oliver”; which was then followed up with an after party a couple doors down from Beelman’s at Spring Street Bar. For those unaware, Steve Hindy is the founder of Brooklyn Brewery, and Garrett Oliver has been their brewmaster since joining Brooklyn Brewery in 1994.

The event was to announce the launch of Brooklyn Brewery’s distribution in California, and as Garrett Oliver put it, they go where their beer goes. Apparently this was one of the few times that Hindy and Garrett has shared the stage together but, to this observer, the discussion ran so smoothly you might have thought it was entirely scripted; it was not. Continue reading

5th Annual Brewer’s Chili Cook-off at Select Beer

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach, where they held their 5th Annual Brewer’s Chili Cook-off. The annual event has been a fundraiser for the last few years; this year the beneficiary was Providence TrinityCare Hospice. I am not sure if they choose different beneficiaries every year or not.

This year, there were nine participating breweries; Bottle Logic, Yorkshire Square, Cellador Ales, Three Weavers, Riip Beer, Burnin’ Daylight, L.A. Ale Works, King Harbor Brewing, and Firestone Walker’s Propagator.

I am not really sure that I have attended any of the prior events, so I know nothing about the prior competitions other than what I overheard and my understanding is that in previous competitions all the chilies were somewhat similar. This year each chili was quite different from the others. Continue reading

2018 Boots, Brews & BBQ Photos

These photos were taken Saturday evening at the Switzer Learning Center, in Torrance, where they held their 2018 Boots, Brews & BBQ fundraiser. The event featured unlimited pours of craft beer from about six local breweries, wine, and an open bar. They also had tequila flights available for an additional fee. In addition to the libations, there was plenty of barbecued meat available courtesy of Shady Grow Foods, as well Mediterranean food from Chicken Maison for the vegetarians in attendance.

The adult only event also offered tickets to ride a mechanical bull, or to practice your aiming at the shooting range that had rifles or revolvers available. They also had a spin and win booze wheel, gaming tables featuring blackjack, 3-card poker and roulette, and live and silent auctions. Continue reading

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